Gitmo detainee argues end of Afghan war should mean release

Feb. 4, 2014 at 3:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A detainee at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has sued saying he should be freed under international law because the war in Afghanistan is ending.

The novel legal argument is the latest step in a 12-year struggle by a prominent Kuwaiti family to secure the release of Fawzi Odah, 36, who was captured in Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. U.S. troops said Odah was caught in the Tora Bora mountains and was acting as an al-Qaida agent recruiting terrorists.

His family, including father Khalid Odah, who worked with the U.S. military during the first Persian Gulf war organizing his country's resistance to Iraq's invasion, says he was there on a charity mission.

Odah has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, arguing President Barack Obama's statement in his State of the Union address, that "by the end of the year, America's longest war will finally be over," should mean he's returned to his home country, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The lawsuit argues under the Geneva Convention, all prisoners of war are to be returned when hostilities end.

The Justice Department asked a judge to throw out the suit, arguing it's premature to say the conflict in Afghanistan has ended.

"It is inappropriate to engage in speculation at this time as to the timing of the future end of hostilities," government lawyers said in their filing.

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